Reo Hatate admits it was a culture shock when he moved to Celtic, especially with fans desperate for a photo or autograph as he walked the streets.
The Japanese midfielder made an instant impact in January when he made the decision to sign for Celtic with Ange Postecoglou raving about him.
He quickly became a famous face at Celtic Park and he thinks it has helped him grow as a person and a football because he realizes how lucky he is.
Hatate was a regular for the Postecoglou side in the second half of the season but revealed he had to change his game from the J-League.
The 24-year-old admits there are things that just don’t work in Scotland that were perfect in Japan, and it’s taking time for him to change things.
In his own blog, he said: “After my transfer, I realized how lucky I was to be able to play on a pitch in front of 60,000 supporters. I think athletes can shine because of the energy of the fans. .
“I had goosebumps when I stood on the field at the Celtics stadium for the first time. The overwhelming cheers I heard as I entered the stadium were deeply moving and unforgettable. J I also felt a big difference in the football culture.
“When I walk down the street a lot of people talk to me, saying things like ‘take a picture with me?’ or ‘please sign!’ You can tell how passionate they are about football, they have both love and tenacity for football and football players.
“Because I came to Scotland on my own, I have a lot more time to think and I’ve had a number of realizations. I’m also reading books and watching more movies. I feel like Spending more time alone allowed me to grow.As a football player, I came from Japan with a strong determination to succeed in football.
“But at the same time, I also want to grow as a person. I think I was able to gradually mature as an individual, living new experiences, facing cultural and language barriers and learning to spend time alone. Of course I feel like I’m growing every day as a football player too. There are things that worked in Japan that didn’t work in Scotland.
“What is common sense in Japan may not be the same here. I need to understand the football style of play here and how it is different from Japan, and then put those learnings into practice. I think I grow as I become aware of these differences and learn to adapt to them.”
Hatate was on fire when he first joined with a brace against Rangers in a 3-0 victory in February that put the Hoops top of the table.
He knows his form went down towards the end of the season but has previously spoken of his fatigue after playing non-stop for nearly 18 months.
But after winning the league title, he told Hoops fans there was more to come.
He added: “Looking ahead, now that we have won a place in the Champions League, we need to deliver results. I think my real challenge abroad will start when I return to Scotland this summer. I’ve only been there for six months, so I should be able to feel a sense of accomplishment living and playing abroad at the end of a full year.
“There are a lot of things I need to do to play throughout the season. I will continue to give my best next season and would appreciate your passionate support.
“Although my physical condition deteriorated towards the end of the season, I am proud to have played the whole season injury-free. And above all, I am delighted that we won the championship. Everyone is happy – my team-mates , my fans, and everyone involved – and I love seeing their enthusiasm, but I was frustrated at the same time, because I know how much better I can play.
“Personally, I felt I was able to build momentum with two goals and an assist in that game against Rangers. I gained confidence and felt like I was finally able to contribute to the victory of the team when it really matters It’s great if my presence in the game contributes to the team, but I feel that I contribute more when I do everything I can, including scoring goals, assisting and running for the team. to the team.”
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